WASHINGTON U.S. retailers will be taking analog TVs off their shelves at midnight Wednesday (Feb. 28) when a government mandate takes effect requiring all TVs sold in the U.S. to include a digital TV tuner.
The March 1 deadline is part of the U.S. digital TV transition that began in earnest last March when a Federal Communications Commission mandate took effect requiring that all TV sets 25 inches or larger must include a digital tuner compliant with the Advanced Television Systems Committee's DTV standard.
The next major deadline in the transition is Feb. 17, 2009, when the U.S. ends analog broadcasts and shifts to all-digital over-the-air television.
Congress approved legislation last year setting the 2009 deadline and creating a $990 million subsidy program to provide eligible U.S. households with digital-to-analog converter boxes.
At least one market researcher has predicted chaos during the U.S. digital TV transition if details of the converter-box subsidy scheme aren't work out in time.